And the winner is...


Congratulations to Carolyn Choudhry, and the governing bodies of Stanbridge School and the Federation of Gislingham and Palgrave Primary Schools who won the NGA Awards for Outstanding Governance!

The awards ceremony was held at the House of Commons and Lord Nash, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Schools presented the awards. Lord Nash opened the awards with a speech, in which he praised governors as being the “unsung heroes of the education system”. He went on to say that “although governance is a voluntary role that does not mean it is an amateur one. It is a highly professional and highly responsible job performing an absolutely critical role in our school system”. Lord Nash also thanked the NGA for our “invaluable” work, and governors across the country for performing a “vital role in our society”.

Carolyn Choudhry, clerk to governors at Haynes Lower School in Central Bedfordshire provides excellent support to her governing body, both in preparation and circulation of agendas, papers and minutes. In addition through her extensive knowledge and research she ensures that the governing body is always kept informed and up to date. Her governing body view her as a great asset and an important part of the school team. 

Gislingham and Palgrave are two very small village schools that formally federated at the start of 2011. Both schools previously had significant weaknesses but standards have improved considerably and in 2012 Ofsted judged Palgrave to be ‘good’ and Gislingham ‘outstanding’. The governors of the federation were described as being “strong, well-informed and exceptionally well-organised” whose “best practice is shared with other schools in the local authority”. 

From being described as the worst school in the area, Stanbridge has progressed from special measure to being good with outstanding leadership and management in 18 months. The journey of the governing body has been impressive. The base of 3 or 4 governors, some new to the role, was augmented by two experienced additional governors. They have helped to develop the present skilled governing body, then gradually reduced their involvement and handed over the leadership to the current strong and capable chair.